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Big History

by ; ;
Edition:
1st
ISBN13:

9780073385617

ISBN10:
0073385611
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
8/9/2013
Publisher(s):
McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
List Price: $74.25

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Summary

Big History: Between Nothing and Everything surveys the past not just of humanity, or even of planet Earth, but of the entire universe. In reading this book instructors and students will retrace a voyage that began 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang and the appearance of the universe. Big history incorporates findings from cosmology, earth and life sciences, and human history, and assembles them into a single, universal historical narrative of our universe and of our place within it.  

The first edition of Big History: Between Nothing and Everything, is written by the pioneers of the field, and presents a framework for learning about anything and everything. It encourages students to think critically about our cumulative history and the future of the world through a variety of lenses.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

Introduction: What Is Big History and How Do We Study It?

Seeing the Big Picture

Seeing the Whole of the Past

What Is Big History?

The Basic Shape of the Story: Increasing Complexity

A Framework: Eight Major Thresholds of Big History

A Note on Chronological Systems and Dates

Summary

Chapter 1 The First Three Thresholds: The Universe, Stars, and New Chemical Elements

Seeing the Big Picture

Threshold 1: Big Bang Cosmology and the Origin of the Universe

Threshold 2: The Origin of Galaxies and Stars

Threshold 3: The Creation of New Chemical Elements

Summary

Chapter 2 The Fourth Threshold: The Emergence of the Sun, the Solar System, and the Earth

Threshold 4: The Emergence of the Sun and Solar System

The Early Earth—a Short History

Shaping of Earth’s Surface

Summary

Chapter 3 The Fifth Threshold: The Emergence of Life

Seeing the Big Picture

How Life Changes through Natural Selection

Threshold 5: The Emergence of Life on Earth

A Brief History of Life on Earth

Summary

Chapter 4 The Sixth Threshold: Hominines, Humans, and the Paleolithic Era

Seeing the Big Picture

Hominine Evolution: 8 Million to 200,000 Years Ago

Threshold 6: The Appearance of Homo sapiens

The Paleolithic Era: 200,000 to 10,000 Years Ago

Summary

Chapter 5 The Seventh Threshold: Origins of

Agriculture and the Early Agrarian Era

Seeing the Big Picture

Threshold 7: Agriculture

Explaining the Agricultural Revolution

The Early Agrarian Era

The Emergence of Consensual Power

Summary

Chapter 6 Mini-Threshold: The Appearance of Cities, States, and Agrarian Civilizations

Seeing the Big Picture

Defining Cities, States, and Agrarian Civilizations

The Buildup of Resources and Collective Learning

Uruk, the First City, in Sumer, the First State

Cities and States in Other Regions

Summary

Chapter 7 Afro-Eurasia during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations: Part 1

Seeing the Big Picture

Introduction to the Agrarian Later Era

The Era of Agrarian Civilizations

First Trend: The Expansion, Power, and Effectiveness of Agrarian Civilizations and Their Administrations

Summary

Chapter 8 Afro-Eurasia during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations: Part 2

Seeing the Big Picture

Second Trend: The Establishment of Significant Networks of Exchange among Agrarian Civilizations of Afro-Eurasia

Third Trend: Evolving Social and Gender Complexity

Fourth Trend: The Generally Slow Pace of Change and Growth

Summary

Chapter 9 Other World Zones during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations

Seeing the Big Picture

Agrarian Civilizations of the American Zone

The Pacific and Australasian World Zones

Chapter 10 On the Brink of a Threshold: Toward the Modern Revolution

Seeing the Big Picture

The Approach of the Modern Revolution

Why Rates of Innovation Increased: Drivers of Innovation

The World in 1000 CE

The Postclassical Malthusian Cycle: Before 1350 CE

The Early Modern Malthusian Cycle: 1350 to 1700 CE

The World in 1700 CE

Summary

Chapter 11 Crossing the Eighth Threshold: Breakthrough to Modernity

Seeing the Big Picture

Threshold 8: The Modern World/Anthropocene

Social, Agricultural, and Industrial Revolution in Great Britain

The Spread of the Industrial Revolution

Political Revolution: The Rise of the Modern State

The Emergence of Two Worlds—Developed and Developing

Other Consequences of the Industrial Revolution

Summary

Chapter 12 The Anthropocene: Globalization, Growth, and Sustainability

Seeing the Big Picture

Introduction

Part 1: Political and Military Changes

Part 2: Growth—More Humans Consuming More

Part 3: The Impact of Growth and Industrialization on Lifeways and Societies

Part 4: The Anthropocene and the Human Impact on the

Biosphere—Is Growth Sustainable?

Summary

Chapter 13 The History of the Future

Seeing the Big Picture

Future 1: The Near Future

Future 2: The Next Few Thousand Years

Future 3: The Remote Future

Conclusion—The End of the Story: Humans in the Cosmos

Summary

Glossary

Credits

Index



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